recyclable packing

New York May Adopt Extended Producer-Responsibility Laws to Combat Consumer Waste

New York may be on board to be the fifth state in the nation to hold producers responsible for packaging products. 

Thus far, Maine, Oregon, Colorado, and California have enacted extended producer-responsibility laws.  The EPR laws assign both financial and operational responsibility for the end of life of products, and are an important tool for managing and lowering consumer waste. In other words, the programs require the producers of packaging products to finance the costs of recycling or disposing of products that consumers no longer …

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Close up view of railroad, transport background

What We Know – and Might Never Know – about the East Palestine, Ohio, Train Derailment

A few hours after dinner time on Feb. 3, and approximately 20 miles following a dramatic slow-down from a speed of 50 miles per hour to about half that, a Norfolk Southern freight train consisting of 38 cars – 11 of which were carrying hazardous materials – derailed in East Palestine, Ohio.

Although the derailment released several types of chemicals, many of which can break down or react with elements in the environment, five of those 11 cars contained vinyl chloride, a highly flammable chemical …

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An Unrecognizable Caucasian Woman Buying Some Cosmetic Products

Social Media Draws Viral Attention to Unfortunate Consequence of Paraben-Free Beauty Products

“Clean beauty” has taken over the cosmetics industry in the past several years, and while there is no official definition of the term, it is generally understood to refer to cosmetic products free from chemicals such as phthalates, sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and parabens, which is the term used for a group of preservatives used in beauty products.

Following the trend, in recent years, beauty and cosmetics retail giants such as Sephora and Ulta Beauty have designated “clean” products with certain labeling if they omit ingredients …

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Renewable Energy

European Union Moves to Create Subsidy Regime to Counteract U.S. Clean-Tech Policies

The European Union plans to push back against the clean-tech tax breaks provided in the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) by easing subsidy rules and creating a new source of money to help member states compete with the United States.

Some EU members see aspects of the IRA as discriminatory, designed to benefit U.S. climate tech manufacturers at the expense of Europe. The IRA sets aside $369 billion worth of tax breaks and subsidies to boost green technology and energy security in the U.S., several of …

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"justice concept, selective focus on nearest part ,lens blur f/x"

New Sprawling EtO Litigations Mount as Our Pandemic-Shaken World Increasingly Relies on Commercial Sterilizers

Right on the heels of the eye-popping $408 million settlement between a major commercial sterilizer and plaintiffs claiming injuries resulting from exposure to ethylene oxide (EtO) emitted from the company’s Illinois facility (covered by ELM here), the company now faces two different legal actions initiated by two new groups of plaintiffs but similarly stemming from fugitive EtO emissions from the company’s U.S. facilities. These legal battles come at a time when there are not yet viable alternatives to EtO, a highly efficient medical-equipment sterilizing …

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large pile stack of textile fabric clothes and shoes

Fast-Fashion Post-Holiday Autopsy: How the Industry’s ‘Dupes’ and Fast-Fashion Apparel Boom is Fostering Environmental Disaster

The fashion industry has been dodging a colossal optics problem, but the aftermath of holiday shopping may finally expose prominent fashion houses for their part in contributing to environmental degradation. The metrics of the fashion industry’s dire environmental impacts are daunting:

  • More than 100 billion apparel items are manufactured annually — more than double the fashion industry’s production in 2000 — signaling a problematic upsurge in textile sourcing and processing.
  • 92 million tons of textile waste is produced annually — the equivalent of one truckload
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18 wheeler trucks on the road

EPA Sets New Guidelines for Diesel Emissions

On December 20, 2022, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized regulations aimed at reducing harmful emissions from trucks, delivery vehicles, and buses. These regulations will impact vehicles manufactured after 2027 and are designed to cut 50% of smog and soot-forming emissions by 2045. These regulations are slated to become final 60 days after they are published in the Federal Register.

The regulations announced this week are the first in this area in approximately 20 years. The regulations mainly target the emission of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxides …

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SEC on Cusp of Radically Expanding Emission-Disclosure Requirements

The Securities and Exchange Commission in March gave initial approval to the Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors. These disclosures include three different categories:

  • Scope 1 – Emissions that come directly from company-owned sources.
  • Scope 2 – Indirect emissions from energy purchased, and consumed by a company.
  • Scope 3 – All other indirect emissions that occur during the course of a company’s business.

One of the major proposed changes essentially eliminates the “materiality standard” for companies’ Scope 1 and 2 emissions disclosures. The …

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Cryptocurrency mining rigs in a data center

While the Crypto Financial World Burns, New York Passes Law Preventing Crypto Miners from Burning More Fossil Fuels

A few weeks after her election as New York’s first female governor, and a couple days before New Yorkers sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, Gov. Kathy Hochul on Nov. 22 finally signed an environmental conservation moratorium on new cryptocurrency mining operations, which both houses of state’s Legislature passed over the summer. (The bill’s progress was followed and reported on by ELM all year, most recently here.)

For two years, the law will disallow crypto mining companies from using the energy-intensive “proof-of-work” method to mint …

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Black Friday, Woman holding many shopping bags while walking in the shopping mall background.

The Environmental Impact of Black Friday

Consumers spent a record $9.12 billion shopping online during Black Friday this year, and are expected to spend $210.1 billion this holiday season, according to Adobe Analytics. That’s an anticipated increase of 2.5 percent from 2021.

Each year, holiday shopping statistics prompt a look at the environmental impact of consumerism in the United States and around the world. Black Friday and the surge in spending during the holiday season, sparks conversation regarding environmental concerns involving waste, emissions, “fast fashion,” and most recently Environmental, Social and …

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